New 919 rider in Salem OR
Hello boys and girls (are there any girl riders on this site? not that I want to hit on them, I have been a happily married man for 41 years). Anyway I have been lurking on this site for a couple months now (I prefer to ride rather than write) so this is my first post. To make a short story long, I was a rider in the late 60's and early 70's when all we had to ride were standards (an important point). Then came marriage and kids and the cares of life so motorcycling and skiing and scuba diving went away. Six - seven years ago when my 60th birthday was looming ahead like a dark cloud and I was thinking about what I wanted my retirement to look like, I decided it was time to get another motorcycle. Two years later I finally wore the wife down and I bought a Buell Blast. I bought a Blast for three reasons, 1. a Blast is a standard seating position motorcycle and the old bones just won't put up with a sport riding position. 2. I was pretty sure that I would be able to work on a Blast (I just didn't think I would have to work so much on it!). 3. The Blast was commissioned by Harley from Buell as a training bike for Harley's new rider training program. Harley hoped that a new rider would learn on a Blast and then upgrade to a real Harley hence the Blast motor which used a Sportster piston and cylinder giving the bike the Harley sound and vibration. What Eric gave the Blast was handling. The Buell motto was "Own the corners". Not that the Blast was as fast in the corners as the other Buells, it was without a doubt better handling then any Harley (who's motto is "We don't do corners"). (As an aside, Peter Egan says that the Buell Ulysses is the best all around motorcycle period.) Now since I have had problems with motorcycle tests in the past I decided to get my permit by taking a Team Oregon Basic Riding Training course. Some of the best money I every spent. And off I went. Three years and 10,000 miles later I am 65 and looking to upgrade to a real motorcycle. Since 90% of my riding is commuting to work (itís the only way to make going to work enjoyable) and Iím not getting more limber but I do enjoy the twisties, that means another good handling standard. So Iím looking at Ulys and 1125cr when the wife has a stroke last year. She says ďget me out of this nursing home and you can have a new motorcycleĒ. So once I get her home (which I would have done anyway) I floated the idea of $4500 to $5000 for a motorcycle and since Iím not Newt Gingrich or the Donald I agreed that we couldnít afford that. Second choice was a Honda (because of reliability) when the 919 came up on my radar. I remembered from one of the motorcycle mags that I subscribe to that the 919 was a used motorcycle best buy, it just never struck me as a standard. Too many trashed CBRs turned into naked bikes I guess. The first and second 919 were offered by dealers so they were too much, but it wasnít too long before an affordable 2006 919 came on the market and thatís what I have now.
The second ride I took on the bike I realized that here was a bike that could go the distance. Iíve had this idea for 47 years, before there was a bucket list, before the Iron Butt Association existed; I wanted to ride 1000 miles in under 24 hours on a motorcycle. My commute is 4/5 freeway and a street fighter is no good for really long distances so I needed to make some changes. I wonít bore you with all the things that needed to be changed or why the ugly tail bag (the windshield is about as bad) you can probably guess them all. Some people may consider what Iíve got as a sport tourer, but I call it my freeway flyer. I can cruise 80 mph @ 4500 rpm which is just alright with me. So that what I was doing for the first two months of 919 ownership, getting ready for The RIDE. So on July 15 everything is ready, including hiring my adult son to watch my wife (his mother) from 8 in the AM to 8 in the PM. Hey, even caregivers need some down time and who doesnít ride 1000 miles to relax? So I decided to ride from Keizer (just north of Salem OR.) to Sacramento CA. and back. Which I did. And I had a blast on the section from Eugene OR to Redding CA (and back). Solid curves the whole section, first hill country, then the Siskiyous, and then over Shasta pass. Lots of corners marked 55 mph, some even 50 mph. I was able to pick up a pace car going both ways, usually a Californian who drove like he had a hot date, and we went thru the corners at 75 to 80 mph with bursts of speed on the straights. Really great fun. What wasnít so much fun was the brand new asphalt for a couple of miles on either side of Redding. Blacker then sin and hotter than the hinges of Hell. Coming back in the afternoon I said more than once ďmy legs are burningĒ. When I got home and took off my pants, sure enough, first degree burns below the knees (but well worth it). By the way, no pictures of the trip, I prefer to ride not shoot.
So now itís back to the old grindstone. Like I said I use the bike to commute, and this year I started riding in February (I donít mind the rain but frost or snow or ice scare me). And if Iím lucky I can go for a ride on my weekend (which is Wednesday and Thursday) from Silverton OR to Sublimity OR, which goes thru Sliver Creek Falls State Park (our local equivalent of Tail of the Dragon). So Iíve got a good bike and good roads and Iím happy. I want to thank everyone on this site for all the good information that helped me set up my bike and maintain it so itís a joy to ride. Well itís taken most of the shift at work to type this (itís OK, as a boiler operator I have a lot of time between boiler emergencies (hopefully)) so I had better try to post this.